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Backer of North Dakota’s recreational pot measure questions poll showing weak support

FARGO — Legalize ND, a group backing Measure 3, which aims to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota, issued a statement Friday, Aug. 31, casting doubt on a poll released the day before that suggested there’s little public support for the measure.

“It is completely nonsensical to believe that numbers have swung this drastically since we commissioned our own poll prior to making the ballot. It is quite simply malarkey that this could feasibly be accurate,” said Cole Haymond, an advisor for Legalize ND.

The poll released Thursday, Aug. 30, was conducted by Odney, an advertising and public relations firm. It showed that about 38 percent of 400 respondents in North Dakota favored legalizing recreational marijuana, while 56 percent were opposed.

Odney said 60 percent of the polling was done through landlines with the rest through cellphones.

“This poll doesn’t pass the smell test,” Haymond said. “What was their methodology? What was the margin of error?”

Haymond said it seems to him certain “powers that be” produced the latest poll to “scare our supporters,” and he questioned why pollsters dialed so many landlines when a 2013 report indicated that 68 percent of phones used in North Dakota at that time were cellphones.

Odney said it did the recreational marijuana poll in conjunction with other polling for statewide candidates. The poll was not done on behalf of any groups opposing or backing the measure, according to Odney.

Haymond said the vote on Measure 3 in November will likely be tight. But based on Legalize ND’s private polling, of which Haymond did not share specific results, he said the measure will have the edge with a plurality.

“We have always approached this effort as if it will be a tough fight and look forward to continuing to educate the people of North Dakota on why it is time to end marijuana prohibition,” Haymond said.

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